Mobility

FEMA expands disaster crowdsourcing

smartphones

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expanding its wireless crowdsourcing disaster-recovery information services with an application that lets users pinpoint damage using their smart phone's GPS.

The new feature, set to be unveiled by BAE Systems and Eye Street Solutions Inc. on Dec. 17, is an add-on to FEMA’s official mobile app aimed at enhancing situational awareness for citizens, first responders, emergency managers and recovery teams during or following a disaster.

The app's new Disaster Reporter feature allows users to upload photos and report incident information from their smartphones – making good on announcement FEMA made last summer promising an app that would allow users to upload photos of hard-hit areas.

BAE said the new add-on allows reports and photos uploaded via cell phone to be pinpointed on an interactive map, using the GPS technology in users' smartphones. The feature was developed alongside FEMA's Digital Engagement team, BAE said in a statement.

Tracking the sprawling damage done by major s a difficult challenge for emergency responders and community relief volunteers. Crowdsourcing gives FEMA the ability to quickly provide real-time images and intelligence to the people who need it to make decisions on when and where to deploy resources, BAE officials said.

The Disaster Reporter feature is available for the Android and iOS versions of the FEMA app.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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Reader comments

Thu, Dec 19, 2013 Diane Orrell United States

Last week, our apt got water damage due to fire sprinkler system froze . The apt above us ceiling collapsed and us on bottom had water comming out of light sockets fire alams light fixtures etc. needless to say my 4yr old child and i are without a home and was told could not occupy due to water in side walls health hazzard. We pd months rent and because we didnt have renters insurance, we are wout home can anyone help us? We have contacted redcross,211, salvation army and neiborhood impact. And no one can help us now we are not able to move into a place until 31 of december. We even pd hole monthd rent. If you could point us in right direction it is greatly appreciatef. Thankyou Diane orrell 5415985526

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